Pastoral Letters – 1 Timothy 1_8-11 – Download
The Law is Good
The Law is good when used properly. But when abused, violated, or misapplied it quickly becomes the unsavory. The interesting situation is that even though the law is good but it is made for those who are bad. Because, those who would follow the law don’t need to be told to follow the law. For example a person who would never think to murder doesn’t need a law to tell them not to. Rather it is those that entertain the idea of murder that need the law.
Before moving further into this study we should be aware that the law spoken of in this passage immediately applies to the first 5 books of the Bible often called the Law of Moses. Although in some New Testaments contexts the term law is speaking more broadly than just the Law of Moses. Sometimes law is a reference to an entirely different set of laws altogether. For the sake of clarity I believe it is best understand Paul’s use of the law in this passage as referring to the Law of Moses.
So if Paul is referring to the Law of Moses then how could we best sum up those 5 books? For this we turn to the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 22:34-40. Here Jesus clearly and efficiently summarizes the Law into two commands: Love God and Love Others. This is where we need to reflect on what Paul said early in this passage about those who desire to teach the law but don’t know what it is they are talking about. The Church need people to teach the Law, but it also needs to silence those who don’t know what they are teaching. The Church does not need sinners teaching sinners without Love for God or the very sinners they are teaching. This is hypocrisy at best and irreparably dangerous at worst.
At the same time the Law cannot be avoided because with it we are given insight into the character and person of our God and Savior; that is Christ Jesus. The law must be taught however, it must taught properly and with its intend purpose. And that purpose is the love of God and the Love of others. Why? Because we are all lawless and in need of law to teach and guide us. Think about the types of people who Paul describes who are in need of being confronted with the love and beauty of the law. The “lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers” and any other person who acts to opposes good doctrine. We all fit into at least on of those descriptions. We are all sinners opposing good doctrine.
Think about how Paul qualifies what good doctrine is. In verse 11 Paul clearly states that the Gospel is the rule and thumb of the law. The Gospel a more clear articulation of the Law, not an argument against it. This does not mean the Christ is called to obey the Law of Moses, that issue was resolved by Jesus and again by the early church (See Matthew 5:17, Acts 15, and Acts 21).
This is why Paul is so stern in his command to silence teachers who are misrepresenting the Law. The misrepresentation of the Law is in its very essence a misrepresentation of the Gospel of the Glory of God. Paul doesn’t leave us to wonder why he has taken up the cause of Law and Gospel as their defender. Instead he lets us know that he has been personally entrusted with the truth of this very Gospel. If I trusted you with my wallet I would expect you to use it in a way that honors me and to defend it from misuse. How much more so should you, me, Paul, or any Christian defend the accurate portrayal of the Gospel? However, this defense must be done in “love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
Christian, you are I are to walk according to the Law of Christ. That is the Gospel. We have been entrusted with a unique and special task of communicating the most beautiful message ever declared to the human race. Let our words and actions be filled with the Love of God and the Love of Others.
- How do we teach the Law without being foolish or legalistic?
- How does a sinner confront another sinner and still show love?
- Are you being faithful with the Gospel that you have been entrusted with?
Christian, handle well what is good.
 1 Timothy 1:9-11 ESV.org
 1 Timothy 1:11
 1 Timothy 1:5 ESV.org